Friday, 31 July 2009

Chelmarsh - Wood Sand up close!

Running the risk of this blog becoming boring (perish the thought!) a Friday off..... After an initial check of VP (high flying Osprey) and Mire lake (Common/Green Sand/LRPs), I opted for another look at Chelmarsh - lets face it, Wood Sand are not birds you see every day in Shropshire!!

There was a surprise too on the way. The 'VP Osprey' was seen distantly perched on a dead tree in the Cound area. I did look again a few times Fri/Sat - it didn't materialise again!)

Chelmarsh then and it wasn't raining! The light was OK and after half an hour or so the Wood Sandpiper appeared from out of the reeds to the left of the hide - incredibly close and irritatingly mobile! TOO close in fact and by the time I'd got the converter off it had moved on out of view...

This has to be my favourite shot - ever alert amongst the aquatic vegetation.....

Never a shortage of Green Sandpiper here either with at least 5 on show!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Chelmarsh - Wood Sand again!

Another Wood Sand at Chelmarsh!! It had been present since early morning but many thanks to Dave Western, who got the news out early afternoon. The light was dire, the rain was coming down stair rod fashion but what the heck, Wood Sands don't drop in every day!

It didn't look good - I got there at 3.00 and after 40 mins or so, there was no sign, mainly due to the local Lapwing louts who were having a go at anything with long legs!


All smiles again!

I was surprised that I could come away with a decent record shot ot two given the poor light and this was probably the pick of them!

There were at least four Green Sandpipers and they weren't too fussed with having the visitor drop in! They are frequently confused with Woods and looking at these two comparison shots, one wonders - why?

Has it stopped raining yet?

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Wood Lane - Black tailed Godwit

Not a lot happening locally - after an uninspiring start at Venus Pool and with inland Scoters being reported, the Meres were certainly worth a try? They were of course even more dire than VP and the only bird of note was a Blackwit at Wood Lane on my return journey.....

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Venus Pool - Cuckoo land?

Saturday morning at Venus Pool got off to a kick start with the Osprey back yet again on arrival (8.05)! Paul King had just pulled up ahead of me and spotted it from the car park over the Trout Pool! Into the light at this time of the morning sadly, it put in a very brief circle before instantly catching a large Roach/Rudd!

Tatty though it is, this Osprey appears to be a welcome 'stayer' in the area but as ever, luck is needed to drop in at the 'right time'!

Other than a Peregrine flying though shortly after and a Common Sandpiper, that was it - or was it......

A juvenile Cuckoo was noted in the record book - this soon made itself known, perched on posts around the car park and reserve paths and captivating a small group of onlookers!

The Cuckoo was first seen in front of the hides and I'm convinced it was raised by Sedge Warblers on the island in front of the memorial hide/ I've been watching them feed unseen 'young' relentlessly for weeks now! (An adult was also seen there some time ago....)

With the severn high and chocolate coloured - every chance of a Kingfisher - and there was......

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Venus Pool - gone fishing

To put things into perspective, I don't always see Ospreys when I go out! In fact, this was a mind numbingly boring session with just one Redshank of interest at the pool.

I turned my attention to other fish hunters - some try to hide (somewhat unsuccessfully?)

Others adopt the vacuum cleaner approach! A bow wave signals imminent eruption of one of natures less cute characters - well, lets say they weren't at the front of the queue when good looks were handed out.....

The obligatory toss captured.....

Good looks? See what I mean.....

Then, down the hatch!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Venus Pool - Osprey 'Take 2'

A drive to the gym Monday evening took in what was meant to be a brief session at Venus Pool. Very quiet, with nothing of note until 7.20 (just as I was leaving) - up went the Gulls!!

Now that could mean only one thing and just look what was gliding in - out came the camera I'd just packed away.....

The next 20 minutes or so was spent trying to capture the moment, at least there were come patches of blue sky to try and catch the bird against.....

Managed to take in the upperwing occasionally - one or two frame-fillers too!

It can't be easy trying to locate a suitable catch with Gulls constantly 'in your face'!

Eventually after breaking free - a plunge down.....

I counted at least four failed plunges into the water (usually hidden behing the island) and with so little light against the dark background, very difficult to freeze the motion! This was typical - a mere 1/200 sec!

Eventually - SUCCESS - but what a tiddler!! Certainly the smallest fish I've seen one catch!

This was the same adult bird that was also seen on Saturday morning - very early for return and I'm sure it will be hanging about for a few days yet - Gulls permitting......

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Venus Pool - Another Osprey!!

A late start and all seemed quiet with just a couple of Redshanks on the Pool. I set about capturing this Sedge Warbler singing by the ditch

At approx 9.20 there was quite a commotion and I could see the Lapwing flock circling high - raptor alert. I dashed back into the hide, not a Hobby, not Peregrine but an Osprey!! A rather tatty adult individual - it didn't linger, merely circled a couple of time before drifting away

It returned again at 10.30 - where the reception party was waiting to repel the invader! My THIRD Osprey at VP this year - lucky Jim indeed!

The two Little Egrets are still performing.....

A search with Yvonne along the River at Melverley failed to turn up the mysterious Bee-eaters - plenty of young birds on the wing here though including a family of Kestrel, young Whitethroat and Redstart!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Venus Pool - Little Egrets

Two Little Egrets have been roosting on the willow to the left of the main island recently and spending more and more time fishing at the Pool. The past two evenings have given a good opportunity to watch them feeding in front of the main hide (during long circuits of the pool).....

Another chance to catch the fish toss!!

Tastes good??

Of course they don't always catch!!

Which ruffles feathers somewhat!!

Then time for preen/roost......